Week 4: Post Bariatric Surgery: The Results Are In!

We are now one month post bariatric surgery, and it’s been a whirlwind since last December.  I mentioned in last week’s blog post Kevin had his first set of lab work since pre-surgery.  If you remember I said his excitement about his blood work got the best of him and he had some dumping issues because he drank his protein drink very fast.  That was last week! And the results of his blood work post-surgery are in!  Before I get to the results I want to talk a bit about the major changes that have occurred over the past six months.

lost two pounds since last week.  started the week at 230 pounds

June 9th, 2016 — Week 4
[228 lbs]

The decision for gastric bypass surgery was not a fast one.  Matter of fact we have spent many years on the diet roller coaster thinking we can just lose weight and maintain it ourselves.  Ten years ago we talked about the lap band (which is less drastic than the full gastric bypass), but we decided against it.  I don’t think Kevin was quite ready to make such a drastic decision. Even though he was about 100 pounds overweight.  In the past ten years he has struggled to have a normal blood panel. Every panel stated in big bold letters, “High Risk.” It never seemed to alarm him to change his diet or lifestyle.  Even when he got the diagnosis six years ago of full blown diabetes. It didn’t seem to scare him into making a lifestyle change.  He just wasn’t ready.

The last blood work up before he made his decision for a positive change came in November when his liver enzymes came back out of whack.  And what really got his attention to make a real change was a cat scan.   He had a scan to check for a hernia and instead of finding a hernia they found “Fatty deposits on his liver.”  He had what was called, “Fatty liver disease.”  You kinda need your liver to function.  He had a few more labs taken before surgery and all were a “Fail.”  He failed every category on the sheet!  If that doesn’t get your attention nothing will.  He was a bit nervous on Friday about his lab work, but was confident the results were going to be positive.

He had an appointment with his endocrinologist on Friday.  For days he was anxious about his results.  His goal was to fire his endocrinologist because his blood sugar readings have all been normal since surgery and he has discontinued all diabetes medications.  As he entered the doctor’s office and signed in everyone from the secretary to the nurse to the doctor did a double take.  They wanted to know what happened to Kevin. He was a bit smaller. He proudly said, “I’m four weeks post gastric bypass.”  They all smiled and congratulated him on his weight loss.  As he stepped on the scale he weighed in at 228!  The last time he weighed in a little over 280!  Amazing he has lost almost 60 lbs. in the past three months and continues to drop.

The nurse was so happy she gave placed a gold star on his shirt (which he proudly sported home).  When the doctor entered the room he could not believe this was the same person sitting on the table.  He was amazed at the weight loss.  He was even more amazed at all his reports.  They were nearly perfect!!  His A1C level was 6.1 (which means there is an increased risk for diabetes). However, he missed the normal range by a few fractions.  The normal A1C level is less than 5.7!  The last lab report stated his A1C level was 9.1!  Major difference.  All other labs were in the normal range.  His Cholesterol was 177, previously 298, liver enzymes reading were remarkable. His AST was 23, previous reading 50, and ALT 28, previously it was 84. This was the big one! He was ecstatic by the results along with the Doctor!  He couldn’t believe what he was reading. The new bold message at the bottom of his lab work read, “BELOW AVERAGE RISK.”  We are so grateful for the entire Bariatric Team at Sebastian River Medical Center.  They have touched and forever changed our lives!

Wellness is the key to Riches Week 3 Post Bariatric Surgery: Dumping is not fun

If you want to live a healthy lifestyle it’s imperative to dump your unhealthy habits. It’s easy to develop bad habits. It’s hard to change our bad habits and once changed even harder to maintain the good ones.  Kevin had an experience this past Friday he wishes to not repeat. He was excited to have his first round of blood work since his surgery in the hopes his A1C levels were down to less than 5.7%; aka normal meaning his diabetes is in full remission. Since his surgery he has discontinued all his diabetes medications and his daily blood sugar levels have been normal. This is the good news, great actually.

lost seven pounds since last week. started the week at 237 pounds

June 2nd, 2016 — Week 3
[230 lbs]

However, on Friday his excitement soon turned to dread. His blood work consisted of fasting that morning. I knew if he didn’t eat he would crash. I suggested he take a protein drink with him to the lab so he could get something in his stomach after the blood draw. He said, “Yep that’s what I was planning to do.” I replied, “Cool!”  Needless to say, he forgot his protein drink! Not a good idea. By the time he arrived home it was after 10 a.m. He was in a hurry to log back into his computer for work, but he was starving. He quickly grabbed a protein drink and in a matter of less than a minute downed it! He was still feeling hungry after the protein drink and ate a spoonful or two of cottage cheese. Which was a very big NO, NO! His brain said, “I can do this, eat fast, eat standing up, and eat on the run. I know what I’m doing.” His new stomach disagreed, and said, “Oh, what did I just do? I feel sick!” Houston we had a major problem!

We were reminded at every doctor appointment the consequences of keeping the old habits of shoving food down, eating while standing, and eating on the run. The doctor looked him in the eye and said, “You will never eat the same again. You can never put too much all at once in your stomach or it will cause a dumping syndrome.” Dumping syndrome is when you put too much in your stomach at once and it all comes back up, and you dump what you’ve just eaten. He’s been reminded to take it slow and enjoy his food. He is still eating puree food until July 1st so his stomach is still relatively new. He can’t do what he did with his “old” stomach as what he’s doing with his “new” stomach. When I arrived home from work and saw he looked a bit green I asked, “Are you ok?” He said, “No. I just got a taste dumping syndrome.” His stomach hurt, it was too full, he was vomiting, and some heaving for about 1-2 hours. He realized his old habits of grabbing food and downing it was no longer an option.

Old habits are hard to break.   The brain says, “Go ahead. It will be ok You’ve done this before.” But the body says, “Hey, you have a new stomach and it’s not ok.” If you want to make changes you have to follow all the rules. Rule number 1: Eat slowly. Rule number 2: Eat at the table sitting down. Rule number 3: Eat small amounts, and rule number 4: remember your protein drink before leaving the house for lab work. Dumping the old habits are not fun, but you can learn to retrain your brain and implement good eating habits.  Your health is the key to life’s riches.